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Iran 59, U.s. 34, Israel 25, United States 24, Us 23, Tennessee 13, Washington 10, North Korea 9, Hezbollah 8, Tehran 8, Vermont 8, Chicago 7, South Asia 6, Antichrist 4, Syria 4, U.n. 4, Barbara 4, Valerie 4, Barbara Slavin 4, Obama 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    April 4, 2013
    9:00 - 11:59am EDT  

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liberal city like boston to a conservative state like tennessee. but i have my reasons for making the move. you see, growing up in alabama, i've always been a southern boy at heart. and even though i couldn't find a trailways bust fast enough to get me out of the south when i was 21, later in life i started have this strange yearning to return to the region had left such a lasting scar on my psyche. [laughter] this is the irony of passing an english only law in tennessee. [laughter] you see, at its core editorial cartooning is a negative artform. it's based on dissent and it's fueled a cartoonists discontent and alienation. so it was really difficult for someone like me to work up a
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righteous indignation in a city like boston, where politicians are so progressive and public policy is so enlightened. let me tell you, tennessee has been a welcomed relief from all of that. [laughter] i found nothing like the mood quite like little lethal injected humor. [laughter] people bobbing in pools, legal injection. i'm figuring this crowd out. but see, now, now that i'm living in tennessee i'm in a constant state of indignation but, in fact, i am so discontent and so alienated, i just don't know how i could be happier. [laughter] i knew it was going to be a great move, but i really had no idea what kind of cartooning goals i would strike in tennessee. you've got to love it. i just include this cartoon
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because it has more labels than any cartoon i've ever drawn in my life. just a little cartooning advice, if you reach the point where using jingoism, you have got -- yukon one label to four. but i digress. true blue progressive living in one of the greatest of all red states. tennessee, a place where a man is measured by the caliber of his handgun, and a woman is measured by, well, the caliber of her handgun. tennessee, a state that convicted a man for teaching evolution 87 years ago, and -- [laughter] and the same state that just this past year enacted a law that allows the teaching of a biblical alternative to
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darwinism. so much for evolution i guess. you've got to love the state that has major international interest like coal mining, for instance. we have a nuclear power, is really big. no flies were killed in the production of this cartoon. and more recently, the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas. this is one i've done in the last week. you know, i thought the other day, i really kind of feel sorry for the industry because of their name, right? fracking. these guys, it's really incumbent on them to come up with a new name. if you could've done a focus group to come up with a more embarrassing name, i don't think you could have done it. so i think these rockers really need to change their name.
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[laughter] source thinking the other day, how about gas holes? [laughter] is just an idea, you know. kind of an idea guy, problem solver. and, of course, for the state legislature in nashville that seems more than willing to do the bidding of all of these industries. and there's the general assembly. [laughter] that is the sexiest woman i've ever drawn, i've got to tell you right now, which is not setting the bar high. of course, in tennessee like the rest of the south, religion permeates every aspect of life. even our chicken sandwiches. and for you northerners, that the scene from the chick-fil-a logo. i just thought i might have to relate that. so i think you can see why i as an editorial cartoonist and so
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taken with chattanooga. but you might be wondering how chattanooga has taken many. well, i haven't been at the paper all that long but i think the readers are starting to warm up to me. but that's only if her definition includes the words loathing and contempt it even though my readers may not gain a lot of respect, if my mail is in the indication, at least they are paying attention. i will show you what i mean. i brought some files here. i brought this file of hate mail, this is from the last several months. it's a bunch of cards, letters from people ranging from those who really hit me to those who really, really hate me. now, my favorite of all of the
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ones where the clip my cartoons out of the paper and they scrawled a message or messages all over it your now, it's kind of the unabomber -esque i admit, but i suppose it does save them money on stationary. i really dig the fact that they are into recycling. [laughter] i've actually concluded a a couple of these particular kinds of cartoons in my slideshow i want to share. here's the first one. [laughter] let's take a look at this one. this reader certainly has a laundry list of complaints. he claims that i like the style or good taste. which is all fine and really hard to debate. but what really gets my goat is when he calls me a redneck. now, listen, i've been at this 30 years. i've been called a red many times, but a redneck?
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i think that's uncalled for. here's another one. this reader is a less diplomatic than the first. he goes right to the big gun. calling me a baby killer and antichrist. i don't know if it's the antichrist or if i'm just antichrist. i kind of like to hope it was the antichrist. got to have goals in life. but anyways, that's fine. i'm fine with baby killer and antichrist, just don't call me a redneck. now, these clipped cartoons, i get them all the time. they don't always contain such elaborate messages. sometimes they are really simple, like this next one where a reader simply scrawled bullshit on my cartoon. [laughter] i'm sorry, i find this one a little bit in piercing.
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bullshit is one word. now, i don't want you guys -- i don't want you to think that it's all about the hate in town. i do have, i do get fan letters. i brought my file of fan letters. [laughter] well, letter. letter. sort of a postcard. but come unicom i don't know if you're not that stupid as you look is a positive comment last night i'm thinking yes, but i'm setting the bar kind of low, you know, because i wanted something in the file. but this brings me to my story of my very favorite letter of all time. it's the clip cartoon right, a composition of actual events. this is neither cartoon or the reader that was involved in this incident. i will tell you that.
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but -- let me see. sometime ago, a reader clicked one of my cartoons out of the newspaper, which is hardly unusual. now, what was unusual is what he did next. the reader took the clip cartoon and proceeded to use it in a way that someone usually uses paper in the restaurant. once this mission was complete, he slipped the cartoon into an envelope and mailed it back to me, complete with a generous sample of his dna. now, you talk about putting grunts back into disgruntled coming in a, let's face it. you can't do that with any mail. [laughter] can you? -- e-mail. i know it's kind of gross.
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really, really gross. but you have to give this guy points for originality, and especially for commitment. and as a cartoonist, i particularly admired his ability to express a strong opinion without using any words. say what you will but this is just the kind of sophisticated political dialogue that brought me back to the south. that's all i've got to see. i love my readers. i just love my readers, even those who don't seem to love me. held, especially the ones who don't love me. you see, as an editorial cartoonist all you can hope for is to have a more vigorous debate on the issues of the day. i'm proud to report that this debate in chattanooga is quite vigorous. so vigorous in fact at times it borders on menacing. even though my wife might be concerned for the occasional death threat that comes my way, i can only see it as the greatest compliment a cartoonist
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can receive. so as i wrap things up, i would just like to apologize, but to anyone who took great umbrage, any conservatives in the audience who took offense at anything i said or any other cartoons i have shown. i would say that no offense was intended but that wouldn't really be true. you know, some offense was intended. so along with my apology, i have a peace offering for those who i've offended. i thought i would end my presentation with a little something that even the conservatives might appreciate. it's acute puppy. see, didn't that make it all okay? thank you all very much. [applause]
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spent i hope the book is just as funny. thank you very much. ted, you ask you each one question and then why don't we just go to the audience for questions? >> you've been telling this story for some time. what did you leave out? >> what did i leave -- nothing of course. this is a very selective presentation. what you have to do is remove a lot of detail in the and try to get to the major themes that a reader who is not for me with the subject can grasp and into we sat around an image. so there are levels of complexity and subtlety that could not be captured in a limited space we had. wanted to say things that were
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accurate that i thought would be the basis of substantial reading, and then the people wanted to go further and really get the nuance, stories, we suggest reading the back of the book. we have a list, and addenda more people can go and read out to be first rate the story and political scientists. i don't think we've distorted any of the big themes over the major moments in the development, but we haven't presented in of layers and some of the complexities that a full historical a congressman. >> you left out -- [inaudible] >> i had 14 in the, but i knew of at least 10 more i would've liked to have seen. >> we are under strict limits. >> clay, what do you think, you are thinking ahead what are some of the topics you think might be fodder for this year?
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>> okay, so you know, i was talking earlier to a friend about liberal politics, and about how discouraging, change is so slow. i think this debate does, it took 100 years to get health care, but as the old saying goes, you know, the art of history -- the arc of history always bends towards justice but in my lifetime i've noticed the issue illustrates -- as an issue. 30 years ago when i was in college, most everybody was still closeted, and now it's to a level where gay marriage is an inevitability. it's added to the civil rights bill for work protection is an inevitability. it's just a matter of when it's going to happen, not if it is going to happen. and i truly do believe, as naÏve
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as i may be, that even this supreme court will rule in favor of the right side on both of the cases that are heading toward about this issue. i think the defense of marriage act i think is going to go in to the ash heap of history, and i think proposition eight will do the same. i think it just depends on how much the court wants to to say with a prop eight case. and you've got to say, they can't think of one or two things to either they think they can overturn the lower court, or they can use it as the foundation for a much broader ruling that and i'm one that hopes they are thinking the latter. so that's what i'm looking for this year, monumental things in gay-rights. >> dead, health reform, what do you think the next steps are on health reform? >> i have it very different perspective. occupationally cynical.
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i'm worried about the way in which the affordable care act for all the achievement that is done, would begin to fall apart and will create major problems. and what i foresee, and there are already indications of this along the way, part of what the affordable care act is supposed to account which is a minimization of increments in premiums from year to year. in fact, they continued in many places with double-digit inflation. we are supposed to also benefit from moving towards electronic medical records to make things more streamlined but the evidence is as electronic medical records coming, expenses go up. i'm very worried about this medicaid expansion. so what i see is that in the near future over the next year or two, that many of the hopes of the affordable care act might not be realized in practice, and may be the need rethink that. i will confess, full disclosure, i'm a strong advocate of single-payer for all and ability
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to be a terrible outcome if some of these things did happen negatively so people can get it right now finally and move in a single-payer direction, which is what i would like to see. [applause] >> clay, your thoughts on single-payer. >> i think obamacare, which i'm glad we finally embrace that he does it so easy to say, was not nearly radical enough. i'm also a fan of single-payer and medicare for all. i am not a cynical because i think that it may be to the detriment of those who stand in the way of the medicaid expansion. i've already seen in my own state, tennessee, where the legislature is steadfastly against these expansions by the governor is starting to sweat it out because he understands that its 100% coverage for three years and 90% coverage for every of that.
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were talking about 200,000 tennesseans who would be added to the coverage of the medicaid system. that's real, those are people's lives that the states could possibly effecting. so i'm hoping that pressure is applied. >> there's been reports there's been some real shattering in the ranks but in some states where there's an elected health commission an elected government, both republicans, they disagree with one another. one is being more theological and one of the more pragmatic. the bottom line issue, it's so overwhelming. and go. >> you will be looking over state lines and seeing, you know, your relatives or your friends getting more benefits because their state embraced it and your state didn't. and so i'm hoping that sort of direct apples to apples sort of comparison will lead to the right way.
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>> there's a question over here. >> i don't think you have to abandon your cynicism. republican governors will end up going for it because of the hospital lobby, not because they care about the 200,000 patients. just happen come in ohio yesterday case it, ideological as they come, has now said he will go for medicaid expansion to my question, however, to clay, have you come up with a cartoon yet or is it still in the surreal stage about al gore's -- >> you know, yeah, i probably should do that. i look for any opportunity i can to slam liberals, because, you know, it kind of gives the illusion of objectivity, you know? i haven't been rushing to the drawing board to take on that issue, i must admit. and al gore is of course very prominent tennessee and.
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-- tennessee and. i'm a big fan of al-jazeera, i'm sorry. they i really good news outlet. [inaudible] >> i don't know. i don't know if anybody works for al-jazeera for cartoons. they could contact my syndicate. >> john macdonald who -- blurred your wonderful book him when he was very much involved in trying to promote the affordable care act, and in this very auditorium, he argued that if we had seen the book very carefully, the sources could act when his first published an past we would've very much opposed to it as well. and that's getting this started is what was so important. and that we will have amended
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soon. i was wondering if you might comment on that? into. >> i will say that during the debate where republicans actually talk about repealing obamacare, did you know it was always with the caveat that oh, yeah, all the things that have already come into play, a 26 year-old still being on your insurance policy, the no caps, you know, all of this stuff that already kind of took on, they weren't campaigning against it. in fact, they always said that we would replicate all that stuff. so all the stuff that's come into being is very popular. and i think, like medicare, the whole program will become increasingly popular, the more benefits people see in our lives. so i look -- i feel like such a pollyanna here. >> the polls support the. when people were polled and as a specific provisions like
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covering children up to age 26, 74 to 75% were in favor. if as a global question, each 5% negative. there is a split in people's understanding, but my view is not as optimistic about incremental reform. i think we have to seize moments and take advantage of wind is a conversion of moral, ethical, political forced to really go to the big, the whole enchilada and not a smaller piece of the. because i don't think you can amend your way from the affordable care act is something that is much better. i think my sense of the dynamic is, many of the cost-cutting provisions or those which are trying to prevent the rate of continued inflation are not going to work. and when the burden of that, when it becomes clear our system is to assist them even with all these piecemeal reforms, then we're going to have to think about a system that is more
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coherently, more efficiently and more fairly organized. that's when we began to move in the direction of a single-payer system. >> i wonder what your thoughts were on the possibility of the raising of the medicare age? >> the challenge is that, while it might sound good, it actually is more people uncovered. so you still would have to figure out some way to fill that hole. and we have, if you know in the health care reform debate, many people talk about lowering the medicare it's because there are many people, particularly those who may retire early, where there are significant other or spouse, uncovered because the other person retired early and they're not yet eligible for medicare. so that's one of the challenges. and then the other thing it
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does, it affects cost shifts again which i think one of the biggest problems in our health is we're playing hot potato. so we may very well save money on the federal dole, but will cost the whole system because those people get move from a relatively efficient, both medically and cost perspective program medicare into a system which is much more expensive. >> i actually have two comments. one is instead of raising the medicare eligible age, why not move the cap on medicare contribution? so that you pay as long as you earn -- >> that's a great idea, and i would say do the same for social
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security. >> exactly. >> you know, i remember -- >> it's, you do pay, you pay medicare as long as you earn. you're not paying social security. >> that's what i would say about social security. you continue to take of the social security tax for every dollar earned. >> the other, is, do you think the affordable care act is going to cause the lower end of the economic spectrum, people in the 49% and below, will start rallying around and become a voting bloc the way seniors have to protect their medicare? >> i think that's quite possible. i think that's why some people fear that. the fact that, i had a chance of a state health official twice, both in the district of columbia and in maryland. many of the costs that were not factored into in terms of cost savings with the affordable care act all the public health
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programs. where stages been 100% state dollars covering single adults for cybe sides of the fence, mel health, substance abuse, primary care. so states, those folks cannot be put on the medicaid program whose incomes are below 133% of the federal poverty level. and in that sense the fed will pick up initially 100% of the cost, depend on how those programs are structured. so those savings, states are doing the calculations. they are beginning to realize there's money to be found in those programs as they bring those in the full coverage. medicaid of course also provides a much more comprehensive package for many people than some of the primary insurance plans. i would always argue that the best way to bring down medicare costs is to make sure that people are well going into the medicare program. the way to do that, of course, is to cover everyone from birth
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till the end of the medicare program. >> if i may jump in, have a slightly different spin on the. one of the most important books that has recently tried to analyze how our health system has resisted reform is a book by paul starr, brilliant author, reasonable remedy and reaction published in 2011, yale university press. he invents a term called the protected public. those people are well covered under their employer provided insurance and don't want anything to change. why, i don't think there's no template out when the 49%, is because the affordable care act isn't any one thing. it's a set of layers of things. so if you're covered on your employer, you'r you are encourao continue the coverage but if you're covered under buying into insurance via these to help their exchanges are at the state level, supposedly at the state level, your notice of consumers
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with a different set of interested if you're covered by medicaid, you're still another, and soul. so you cannot imagine a uniform population rising up under one boehner and defending the afford with direct because the affordable care act is many different things under one umbrella. >> i would say the 49% won't wise up because if you're thinking of the 49 for the 47% or whatever romney referred to as the people who don't pay any income tax, because a lot of those people don't even realize that they are part of that group. you know, hell, the tea party, is a really in their economic interest to support the republican party? is it really in any middle income persons best economic interest, forget about justice. let's talk about, if middle-class americans looked at objectively and look at both platforms, it would be in their own best self economic interest
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to stay clear of the republicans. but they don't. they still, unicom in tennessee they still collect them, a super majority. as obama is being elected nationally, tennessee is selecting a super majority in the state house and senate. so the democrats don't even have to show a. if the democrats want to walk out of the state, it doesn't matter to the republicans will still do state business without their input. so surprising. [inaudible] >> more optimistic when you look at the state of vermont. >> that question is a supply. [inaudible] vermont is a state which seems to be moving towards single-payer, very clearly on the state level, and passed that legislation with strong majorities in both houses of their legislature, supported by
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their very reformist government. they brought in a world-class economy and called an economist from harvard to analyze that. it looks as if vermont may well be on the way, but the problem is before vermont can even move in that direction i have to waivers from the federal government. the affordable care act says you can get a waiver into 2017. and part of what senator bernie sanders is trying to urge is that waiver be moved up to 2014 because in the meantime, we know that on the ground, the representatives of the commercial interest industry which are creating distortion, the longer they have to spread their particular propaganda, the more the wind will be taken out of the single payer sales can move up that waiver date and maybe vermont can do what the will of the people seems to want. then maybe we can say as vermont goes, so goes the nation. [laughter]
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>> i'm always encouraged when i look at vermont, about everything. [laughter] about everything. vermont is just dreamy. >> there's a question over here. >> hi. so, i recently read the cbo report that said there's actually a possibility that employers would start simply paying the fee under obamacare and drop a lot of people. and you would see as a result a lot of people moving on the government medicaid rolls. do you think, should that happen? there's a potential that that could create that sort of, i guess interest in shrinking medicaid that could improve the program, possibly lead to single-payer. >> what i find amazing is that you read a cbo report.
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[laughter] >> wonderful student. >> i am in awe. >> we're not sure what would happen. we have lots of rhetoric about what employers will do. of course, we've had many employers say they're going to drop coverage and then their customers have risen up and so we won't go there. i of course encourage folks to do that. i think, frankly, health insurance is firmly ingrained in the employer culture and employees expected. i run a business, american public health association, and people want to know what the benefit packages. people are making employment decisions based on their benefit package. so i think there's a counterbalance to that, and so, unicom always remains to be seen, all are moving targets. cdo bracelet projected there may be some leakage out of the court
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coverage system, but that remains to be seen. i'm optimistic. with that, please give our colleagues a great round of applause. [applause] i will turn it back over to judith. thank you very much. and again, thank you very much for being here. and the books will be a. if you're interested. and we will sign them upstairs, yes. [inaudible conversations] >> we are taking you live to the atlantic council here in washington, d.c. for a panel discussion looking at relations between u.s. and iran. analysts will examine the current tension between the countries and what u.s. policy might look like as the administration tries to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear
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weapon. the organizers atlantic council say they should get underway uny momentarily. wildly, a look at some of our coverage, live coverage over on c-span today. the society of american business of writers is holding a conference focusing on business issues. some of the speakers at the event include aol ceo tim armstrong, federal reserve vice chairman janet yellin, and former reagan white house budget director david stockman. that gets under way over on c-span at 12:30 p.m. eastern. [inaudible conversations]
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>> good morning. i'm fred kempe, president and ceo of the atlantic council. welcome to this important event. north korea, not withstanding, preventing iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state remains the most significant to be as -- of president barack obama second term. knowing the stakes and the perils of this some time ago, actually now more than two years ago, the atlantic council launched and iran task force, and then we recently expanded it in an effort to move america and its allies from the stance of something that has been overwhelmingly tactic to something a little more
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strategic. taking a look at the broader context of the region, taking a look at iran's domestic politics, taking a look at a lot of factors sometimes get lost in the heat of the argument over iran we've been trying to provide more like. -- more like. i want to thank at the outset atlantic council board member stuart eizenstat do is serve as co-chair of the task force throughout, and initially, initially as co-chair with senator chuck hagel, our chairman, was led to the atlantic council to become secretary of defense as you know, he was not involved in the vetting or approval of the final report it to this report does apply what we've learned through two years of examination at the atlantic council, six issue brief, 25 events. i want to thank ploughshares for
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supporting this important project, and particularly joe who has been part of the task force, and has been a great believer in this effort from the beginning. i also want to tip my hat to our senior fellow barbara slavin who have been instrumental in pulling this report together and pulling all the previous work together. in a very short time, the south asia center has become a focal point for policymakers, legislators, experts on the issues of south asia and broader south asia in the united states, in europe, and further afield, south asia and the world. i'm very proud of the work that we've done on india-pakistan. we call it waging peace. on the work we've done trying to improve the relations between u.s. and pakistan. the work we've done in trying to
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create a next generation of south asia civil society leaders and making them think seriously about the future and how they work together to bring a better future for south asia with the u.s. and with others. these are just three among very important projects the south asia center conducts. what all these projects have in common is we try to see things in the atlantic council in a larger regional and global context, understand both the domestic politics, global setting in order to reach solutions in a bipartisan way and in a multilateral, multinational way. and that's what we've done with this, with this project all along. but i'll leave it to barbara slavin later on to introduce a lineup of speakers, a very impressive group indeed. you see the list of task force members in the front part of
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this report, ma time to move from tactics to charge on iran. i would like to particularly thank the board members who served on the task force, general james cartwright, general michael hayden, and tom pickering, ambassador tom pickering. the rest of the list is also incredibly impressive. we are really grateful also to have with us today task force members greg steelman and trita parsi. it's a diverse group when of you of a former director of the cia and a former vice chair of the joint chiefs on the task force, and former ambassador thomas pickering with all his credentials, you know you have a very powerful task force. so let me turn over to stu eizenstat to make some opening comments. aside from being atlantic council boardman and one of our most important board members, he was president jimmy carter's chief domestic policy adviser
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and executive director of the white house domestic policy staff. he was president bill clinton's deputy secretary of treasury, under sector a state for economic business and agricultural affairs, and also served as undersecretary of commerce for international trade at the international trade administration. we got to know each other a little bit better when he served as ambassador to the european union in 1993-1996. stu, let me turn the floor over to you. >> thank you very much, fred, and thank you for initiating this task force but and i also want to add my thanks to barbara slavin, to chuck hagel for the work he has done. members of the task force and for ploughshares fund's which provides essential support. for more than two years the iran task force has been delving deeply into the issues of iran and all of its dimensions. we look at the iranian nuclear
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program, quality of intelligence. without that program the impact of sanctions, iran's regional role, and their internal politics. i believe it's fair to say that our task force has taken the most comprehensive assessment of 21st century iran ever undertaken. outside of government. inpo with hosted 25 separate events. we but experts in each of these areas extensively briefed us on hold range of iranian policy, and on the people of iran. we've had six significant issue briefs as well. and a report today summarizes many of the findings and recommendations, but pulls them together and recommend a course of action to curb iran's nuclear program at the bolster our relationship in a strategic way with the iranian people. on the nuclear issue we start with a proposition, that the
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task force found a nuclear-armed iran would have extraordinarily negative impacts on the united states, its european allies com, israel, and the international system. it would mark a defeat for the west. our task force recommends that the obama administration layout step-by-step reciprocal and proportional plan, trading graduated relief of sanctions for verifiable curbs on iran's nuclear program, and verifiable assurances that iran does not have undeclared nuclear materials at facility. iran should also explain fast and possibly ongoing work on weaponization. our proposal would allow iran to continue to enrich uranium at a low level, provided that confidence can be established that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. it must adhere to all u.n. security council resolutions, fully cooperate with iaea
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inspectors at all their nuclear sites. if a deal cannot be reached, iran should expect more sanctions and covert action. military forces as a last resort but it remains an action to deter iran from building nuclear weapons. indeed, the task force included and ago, the obama administration must assure this threat remains credible as it may be the only course that deters iran from deciding to build nuclear weapons, end quote. even as we track to solve a neww clear question dashing the question we must do again to alleviate on ordinary evans. we recommend that designate one or two u.s. third country or iranian banks that could conduct transactions solely on trade and food and medicine, and to facilitate other humanitarian goals. in october of last year, the
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treasury department such trade but there's no financing mechanism to prevent it from occur. if not only build in the long-term good will of the rainy people, but it would make it harder for the iranian government to blame the united states for the pain their own inability to meet the needs of their countrymen, along with sanctions are causing. such steps would also make it easier for our allies to continue to implement tough sanctions if they are needed over the long term. we also recommend that the obama administration remain deeply engaged in the middle east, even as there is a pivot to asia. working to revive israeli-palestinian negotiations, intensifying efforts to replace the assad regime with a coherent and responsible alternative. and to shore up ties with turkey and the gulf cooperation states. president obama's recent trip to israel, the west bank and jordan were good first steps as mediation of the israeli turkish
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dispute was also important and welcome. while we do not advocate engaging iran in any way over syria, indeed they ought already to deeply involved in negative ways, it may be possible to work with iran to stabilize afghanistan as the u.s. and nato withdraw their forces. to support engagement with iranians, the u.s. needs, the u.s. needs some bureaucratic retooling. our task force would like to see the state department restore the position of deputy assistant secretary of state for iran, and create a virtual public affairs section to augment a virtual amnesty that's been in operation for about a year. we should also ask iran to permit the stationing of american diplomats at the u.s. intersection in tehran as they do here to process visas for iranians traveling to the u.s. and to facilitate exchanges. iran's government may well reject this request, but if they do the onus wil within the on t, not on us. while the goal is normalization
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of relations this will require the government to require verifiable limits and to fully cooperate with iaea inspectors, to answer fully iaea questions about its past present and continuing nuclear program. iran's nuclear program began some 50 years ago. but this is now a genuine time of urgency. 2013 is an absolutely critical your because of the progress iran has made. as a task force said and i quote, when now approaching the point where iran could easily break out and enrich sufficient weapons grade material to build a nuclear weapon, end quote. this could be reached this year, task force concluded. we hope these recommendations will provide a coherent structure to the ad hoc policies that have characterized too many past american administrations. ultimately, however, the
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decision is iran's. will it live up to its international obligations, to move away from nuclear ambitions and joined the international community? or was it the same even further into a pariah status. as we say, real progress can only be achieved if the iranian government is genuinely willing to live up to its international obligations and move away from nuclear weapons ambitions. i would now like to call up barbara slavin will be the moderator, but more broadly, barbara had really been the glue that is held up his task force together. she has been a principal author of almost all of the reports, and was a seminal force in the production of this founding. so barbara, thank you for all your work. >> into very much, ambassador. i'm so pleased to see you all here today. this report has had a very long gestation period, and i feel like it's a second child in some ways.
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i want to thank the atlantic council but i want to thank the south asia center and all its members. i want to thank ploughshares, all the members of the task force who are here, and also some who are not here. others who helped contribute to this report, gave a lot of good suggestions and help bring it to the shape that anything today. i also want to say that not every member of the task force agrees with every single word in this document. and there is plenty in it. some people will focus on some issues, some on others. what we tried to do was create really a pragmatic document that had a common sense approach to iran, and that also sees iran not just as a nuclear program but as a country. and if i may just a second before increase the panel, i think, i wanted to point out that i started working on this right after coming back from a trip to iran in august of last year. and it was a very important
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trip. for me it was very worrisome in many ways because iranians have always been quite pro-american. mike has told me that he and steve, the cia, used to say the iranians with the most pro-american muslim population from marrakech to bangladesh. that may not be the case anymore. when i was in iran, many people expressed a great deal of anger, not just as her own government over sanctions, and they do blame the government for sanctions, but they blame the united states as well. and i worry very much that we are losing the goodwill of the iranian people. so one of the purposes as ambassador eizenstat has said, is to designate one or two iranian banks and u.s. financial institutions that can be channeled for very carefully vetted authorized transactions between the two countries. we want in addition to encourage food and medicine to go to iran, we want to encourage academic exchange of students coming here. there's some suggestions for
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perhaps a modified fulbright program before u.s. and iran to for 2010 iran universities and 10 american universities to work on politically neutral issues of mutual benefit, things like earthquake prediction, water quality, aids research. and as ambassador eizenstat mentioned them we also recommend some bureaucratic changes in the state department. we would like to see the post of deputy assistant secretary of state for iran restored. it has not been filled since philo dibble, a veteran diplomat, passed away in the fall of 2011. we would like to see that bureaucratic had restored. and all, as ambassador eizenstat also point out we want to have americans in intersection in tehran. it is been too long that american officials have been deprived of the experience of accessing iran for what it is. we don't know if the iran government will agree to the suggestions but we hope that
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they will consider. there have been some positive remarks about iran and u.s. context, direct contacts made even by the supreme leader. finally, we don't know when or if the nuclear issue will be resolved. i have my doubts that the meetings that start tomorrow are going to bring some dramatic breakthrough. but what we hope we've done here is create a sense that if resolve the nuclear issue but lose the goodwill of the wrong people, we will still not have resolved this issue. iran is too important a country. it impacts what goes on in syria, lebanon, israel, across the persian gulf, in afghanistan, in central asia. and we simply have to understand that we have to keep working this issue. it's not something that's going to go away and it's not something we can resolve simply through the good auspices of the
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international atomic energy agency. so with that let me turn your excellent panel. you've already heard from ambassador eizenstat, and i want to thank them personally for his incredible dedication for this effort over the last couple of years. and in particular in recent months despite some personal tragedy. and i'm very, very grateful for his dedication but he's a very busy man and he has given generously of his time. we have two other panelists who are going to speak. very pleased to have greg steelman. greg is a senior fellow with the arms control association. he spent more than three decades in both executive and legislative branch of the government, he specialized in political military and intelligence issues. he was a senior professional staff are on the senate select committee on intelligence. he was also a us-born services, service officer. he served as director of strategic proliferation and military affairs office, and the
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department of state's bureau of intelligence and research. and many of you may remember that greg put a very important role in inr played a very important role in the run up to the iraq war when that particular part of the state department was the only part of the u.s. government that challenged the conventional wisdom that iraq was building weapons of mass destruction. and would also have alireza nader from brand. he's a senior international policy analyst there. and he is focused on iran's political dynamic in the decision-making and iranian foreign policy. he has numerous publications at rand, including israel and iran, a dangerous rivalry. he has worked on iran and israel. i believe you have a new publication coming out also? up coming publication? can we say with the name is? iran after the bomb. very provocative. but also want to thank alireza because is a pinch-hitter for barry who could not be with us today. for personal reasons. sober liberty pleased that he
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would come. i'm going to ask greg to come up and say a few words first and then alireza and then we'll take your questions. thank you. >> thank you, barbara. i'm very happy to help launched the latest publication of the atlantic council's iran task force. i want to thank the council for this report, as well as the issue briefs and panel discussions which preceded it. today's release is the latest in a number of quality reports on the iran nuclear issue that have been published in the first quarter of 2013. i have to mention the arms control association did a report since the iran briefing book. i would also mention the international crisis group's spiderweb report on the iran sanctions, the national iranian american council report on our iranians stakeholders view the sanctions, and the carnegie endowment report on the costs and risks of iran's nuclear
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program. building on its own previous finally, the atlantic council's iran task force now recommends a long-term strategy to guide our policies on iran. i believe this report makes in a porno contributions to shaping and emerging at least what i hope is an emerging consensus on how we should deal with iran. i will be offering some of my own perspectives did it on the very difficult policy decisions we face two trying to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and simultaneously persuade iran from building nuclear weapons. in deference to proclivity development, '70s that the state department as an intelligence analyst i will also try to register at least one dissenting footnote to the views of the majority. it's easy to get discouraged by recalling the history of our bilateral relations with iran. both sides admit multiple
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opportunities over the years -- have missed. and some of iran's reasons predate any arguments over the nuclear program. but they are still obstacles to a nuclear solution. if the historical baggage, consumer concerns don't seem very light either. we are cause of reminded by the present commentators that the sanctions have failed against the arranged to change the policy, and that time is running out. every quarterly report of the international atomic energy agency informs us how many more centrifuges iran has installed them how much more enriched uranium iran has a committed and how uncooperative iran has been in addressing the agency's questions about suspicious activities. a political consensus seems to form in a state about the notion that an iranian nuclear weapon would be quote unacceptable unquote. even as debate rages about how
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close iran should be allowed to get. although even the israeli prime minister netanyahu has extended his red line into next year, a recent "wall street journal" op-ed co-authored by david albright warned that iran on its current trajectory will be able by the end of 2014 to assemble sufficient fissile material for a bomb within one to two weeks of an order from the supreme leader. some of you may have heard this past monday as brookings, the low expectations the former white house official gary seymour has for the next round of negotiations. seymore predicted there would be no agreement before iranian elections i in june, come making web a long way to go before even a confidence building measure is possible. former eu foreign policy chief javier opined the same if it will be very difficult to resolve the nuclear issues at all by the syrian political
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crisis rages on. seymour did not overrule out in narrowing differences when the parties meet tomorrow in kazakhstan. is what i would like to discuss next. were are we in negotiating necessary strengths on iran's nuclear activities? by all accounts february 6 power talks in iran in a march meeting between the parties technical experts in istanbul were constructive. in a real sick of these talks are beginning to resemble real negotiations. the initial focus of the six powers is on halting the growth in iran stockpiled from 20% enriched uranium that would provide the fastest route to producing the fissile material needed to build a nuclear weapon. iran's principal objectives are to establish legitimacy of iranian enrichment and again as much sanction relief as possible while keeping its future options open. with iran's presidential election less than three months
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away, it doesn't seem likely iran would be inclined to cut a deal, even on a small interim step. nonetheless, it is reasonable to hope for a further narrowing and differences that would bring the sides closer to taking that first step an agreement that would build confidence and by time for a more comprehensive settlement. agreement on dates and venues for continued talks would be i think a minimum acceptable outcome. and i expect this to happen because neither side has an interest right now in giving the impression that the negotiating process has stalled. this brings us to the task of identifying the substance and procedure requirements for the agreement. ..
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it just gives an excuse for diverting attention from the real issue which is the noncompliance with its obligations to the iaea. we must stress the conditionality of the uranium enrichment right though inalienable as they frequently repeat, npt article rights it must be in conformity with articles 1 and two of the treaty and whether or not iran is in conformance with article to is exactly the question. i would also said just trying
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hard to separate the perfect from the good as an interim measure it is more important for a useful agreement that can be monitored and seeking a more extensive and permanent limitation. for example, they're appears to be an agreement in principle to stopping expansion of the 20% enriched uranium stockpile to me by what are you achieving this immediate goal is more important than tehran agreeing to move its stockpile to another country. while in perfect evin conversion of the existing stockpile of uranium gas to the solid form used for fuel in the research reactor would be a step forward. similarly it seems to me in the production of the medium-range uranium anywhere in the iran is more important than an agreement to shutter the deep underground facility. the key question is frequency and the ease of iaea access to uranium enrichment facilities,
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not their location. finally we should draw the demand to shut down. it's not very persuasive to argue for closure at the negotiating table because israel would have a trouble destroying the facility. they are offering relief to the sanctions for a civil relaxing restrictions on the gold trading and the soul of the petrochemical products perhaps implementation of certain sanctions could also be suspended but the core sanctions must be maintained until iran is ready to seal the deal. the key for an interim agreement will be to find a package of sanctions relief proportionate to the concessions offered by tehran both in scale and reverse ability. when an interim agreement has been achieved, the negotiations can begin in earnest on measures
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to ensure transparency, resolve questions about past military activities and unwinding sanctions. we need to dwell not on what we most want but what we must have, maintaining cohesion remains a priority and we need to spend at least a little time worrying about how iran's negotiators will sell an agreement in tehran, not just how it will go over in the u.s. congress. now for the foot note i promised the military options include a thorough list of on the one hand grave implications and the consequences for the premature military strike on the other. i sure i join everyone in the audience today and fervently wishing for neither rather than either. but i personally think the
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consequences of a nuclear iran are overdrawn and the description of consequences are torrid. why wouldn't iranian success and violating u.n. security council resolutions shred the npt when north korean violations are not why should we believe the bomb would threaten the very existence of israel i don't know it means to ensure the option of military strikes remain credible given the attack would delay that not even prevent a bomb by dealt the unilateral preventative task can never be very credible and constantly repeating the military options on the table won't make it so. thank you.
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>> as i said everyone takes away from this report with a well and everyone has contributed so thank you for this comment. >> good morning for inviting me to speak. i would like to talk about the concept possible consequence let's assume that iran does manage to develop nuclear weapons and assembles nuclear weapons. there's several reasons as to why. the should be the primary u.s. gold and one of the reasons it's inflicted a blow to the nonproliferation regime to a certain extent it's credible but it's also up for questions. another reason for preventing iran for the nuclear program is that there would create a very unstable situation in the middle
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east with nuclear weapons and there's no communication between the two countries. they don't have formal relations so this creates a very dangerous scenario especially in the case of any conflict between israel and iran. that's credible and another reason for preventing iran from ebonizing its program that's often is a proliferation risk in the middle east and we can discuss that at length. the notion of the cascade effect i really want to address the question of whether iran would be emboldened by the nuclear weapons capability. and this is a claim made that if iran developed a weapon in this would lead to an expansion that power not just in the middle east but globally that nuclear weapons would embolden iran into
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a riskier action to behave in a more aggressive manner in the persian gulf and towards israel and i don't necessarily think the evidence of the reasoning for this series are very sound. i think number one purpose is deterrence for iran to defend itself and we don't have to like the islamic republic to admit that. it has national security interests. the iraq war shaped iran's view of its position in the middle east or the very devastating war not just for the islamic republic but for the iranian people and in the region the u.s. invasion of afghanistan and invasion of iraq proved to the islamic republic that it had
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that it couldn't do so through conventional means alone. so i think deterrence is the primary reason to why iran may be developing nuclear weapons capabilities and iran would like to also project power and influence in the middle east and nuclear weapons can be used to that effect. a second question we have to ask is what kind of state is the islamic republic. it is a revisionist state meaning the islamic republic seeks to overturn the order in the region. the islamic republic once the forces out of the persian gulf. the islamic republicans opposed to israel and a very ideological terms it's not just geopolitical competition that within tehran and the ruling elite especially the top leaders of conservatives there's a hatred for israel that's very apparent and opposes
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the gulf cooperation council and i believe the gcc of saudi arabia to be the foundation of the power in the region and so iran has had a very tense relations in the countries and they are very afraid of them iran with a nuclear weapon. but iran also has no territorial ambition and has not invaded another country since 1789. it does not seek to conquer the territory. it has some disputes with surrounding countries, but again the intention is not to occupy about bahrain are setting arabia. the islamic republic goals are revisionist in nature and you can make the argument that nuclear weapons would that iran vision goals. these have been tempered to a certain extent since the revolution and we can discuss that at length because there is
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a variety of opinions on what the policy should be in tehran. but my argument is that u.s. policies effectively containing iran even if it develops weapons. it's undoubtedly lead to a declining economy as barbara said it is endangered to the good will towards the united states and also have the practical effects on the objectives. as the economy gets weaker at impact. they will have less money to fund terrorist groups like hezbollah and hamas and really maintain its influence in the wake of the arab spurring and its of the regional dynamics within the middle east
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containing conditions along with u.s. policies. they are gaining influence in the arab world and iran is a persian majority country that's always faced difficulties and expanding and enforcing its influence on the region. if it falls this will impact ireton's ability to project power and the government knows this and they are trying as hard as possible to keep them in power or keep some sort of force in power when assad falls. if the syrian regime falls and iran has no influence, this would dramatically affect iran's ally in the region and that is hezbollah. iran would not be given to militarily physically supply hezbollah in that even if a conflict with israel.
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it would be difficult for iran to maintain its relationship with hezbollah. the routes would be cut off and could also be potentially cut off so this would present a severe crisis for the islamic republic foreign policy and hezbollah right now is feeling a lot of pressure because of its support of the regime and losing credibility on the arab street if you will. the spurring has also shaken the foreign policy narrowed for years the islamic republic was saying that it supports the average man and woman on the street in the face of what it terms to be imperialism and support for the autocratic arab regimes but those regimes are falling apart. so, what is the islamic republic in resisting in the region?
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mubarak has gone and yemen has gone so broadly the arab spring is weakening iran's position towards them in general. and also, it is iran's behavior that has led to a decline in their reputation in the middle east. in 2009 the iranian regime reacted very violently towards demonstrations that occurred after the presidential reelection and this damaged iran's credibility and had a lot of people on the region tell me that they viewed the regime as a very different matter after 2,009. so i think it could be fundamentally one of the reasons that the islamic republic is in decline. last the internal division within the islamic republic should not be underestimated. this is a regime that is facing
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a severe internal crisis. the very notion of the jurisprudence, the role of the supreme leader been questioned no less by somebody like the president mahmoud ahmadinejad who has aggressively challenged the position within the system and there are a lot within iran that are unhappy with their role and it's not always public but we see indications that the regime position within iran is very shaking. as we face upcoming e elections in mid june we have to keep in mind this is a system that if it isn't crumbling it could be on the verge of maintaining major changes and i argue that all autocratic regimes eventually crack and we could be put missing the islamic republic today so what does this mean in
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terms of u.s. policy and i think barbara said this very well we shouldn't look at the iran as being a nuclear problem but rather a country that is facing critical vulnerabilities in the region, a critical economic vulnerabilities and important will viabilities at home and as the atlantic council stated before, strategic patience is important in the position towards iran. i think there's a tendency to focus on how many centrifuges iran has been stalling and what is the status for whom when you look at the bigger picture when we look at of the rivalry between the united states and the islamic republic when we look at the islamic republic's historical position in the region, the islamic republic is losing. thank you.
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>> -- to say how profoundly i disagree for with the statement. first with respect to the nuclear issue, i think that there is an underestimation of the massive defeat for the united states if we allow iran to slide into a nuclear capacity and take the containment policy. it will be seen as weakness by our allies and in the region. if the united states after all the effort that we've made, after all the u.n. resolutions, after all the sanctions and effort to marshal a coalition with the europeans to have the most comprehensive set of
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sanctions imposed on the country in peace time and i say that from the experience of having worked in the lead of the sanctions effort it's taken as an absolute massive defeat with impunity. what conceivable incentive with any country have to take either the u.s. or the u.n. security council seriously. likewise the underplaying notion this would lead to a nuclear arms race that allow them to have a nuclear weapon without seeking one themselves or the gulf cooperation council. i think it's absolutely clear that they wouldn't do so nor would they rely on the nuclear umbrella from the u.s. after the
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u.s. what in effect have conceded iran's nuclear program and of the issue of the territorial ambitions to use surrogates for the extension of their territorial ambitions. hezbollah, hamas, the unfortunate support the have now in iraq so it's true they may not have marched across borders but they have used sarin gets in a very effective way to disable the region. i also don't think that these conclusions mirror the full consensus of the task force. thank you.
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> i think you can see -- you still can't hear me.
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semidey want to give me the microphone? now you can hear me. how much of a challenge this was to put together this report given the very deep-seeded use a lot of people have i wanted to point out gregg that is a member of the task force is speaking on a personal capacity but i wanted to give them a chance to respond to what the ambassador had to say before we turn to other questions. the points of agreement first of all i think i identified my view as a dissenting view against the majority of the task force so that indeed is the case. i would also expressed some agreement about the negative consequences of iran acquiring
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nuclear weapons. it would be a defeat for major objectives in the united states. there is no pretending otherwise. i would say what has happened in north korea is also a very significant defeat for the united states, the nuclear nonproliferation. so we are really talking about how bad it would be and not whether it would be bad. i would also say that my assumption is that the iranians made a move in the nuclear weapon whether we launched a military attack or not it would be very extreme reaction not just by the united states but the entire international community and would have even more sanctions and penalties against iran and i can't see that as being the same thing letting iran have nuclear weapons with impunity. you can't argue with the same time this is a serious sanctions
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regime we've ever imposed in the that assuming there would be more serious sanctions and call that impunity. iran is already in a very unfavorable situation as a result of the sanction it would become more hearty. >> if you to comment on the notion of using the proxy's rather than sending its own troops. >> i would like to address the points very briefly because i think -- i would argue yes it would be a defeat for the npt but not necessarily the end of the npt. that's why it should be to dissuade them from recognizing the program. when we talk about containment it doesn't mean that we allow iran to develop nuclear weapons high-end containment also means we are containing the regional ambition, so it is possible to dissuade them from weaponization and containment at the same time
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and in fact the united states has been containing them since the 1979 revolution so containment certainly does not mean that we give up on the goal of dissuading iran from weaponization which i still think based on sanctions and diplomacy is a possibility. iran will never develop nuclear weapons. and my study's hypothetical. i want to examine what happens if iran develop nuclear weapons how we should treat iran and what policies we should adopt. in terms of using a proxy that is very correct. it uses the proxy not to control territory of course but to protect power and to detour some of the so-called proxy's and i have to add and i discussed this at length in my report it is a misnomer because when you look at the groups that allied with iran and hezbollah and the other smaller groups, each have their own independent objectives and
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interests. even hezbollah's interests do not easily align with the interest. hezbollah has a whole set of different interests in the air of political actors. in terms of some of the other groups. the palestinian groups like hamas are distancing themselves really to the arab news and arab spring. hamas still receives military training and weapons from iran. but indications are gravitating towards egypt and the muslim brotherhood rather than iran and syria. >> obviously we could debate among ourselves the rest of the session but we have a distinguished audience so i would like to turn to our
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audience to see if perhaps we have some comments from some of our task force members. maybe the general would like to say a word or two. >> i would just add i took at least a little footnote to this section greg pointed out. the mechanical description of casualties that are well organized and would create i thought it frankly was high. i take no question and there's been no doubt that it's a very difficult and that option when we discuss this in the bush administration bob gates it was very common for him to point out that if we do this we will create that which we are trying to prevent that will stop at nothing in secret to develop a weapon. this thing has spiraled down over the last four years that
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option is not becoming more attractive looks least worst. >> appreciate that. wait for the microphone and say who you are. >> i'm confused on your position versus a grand deal because you also said we must wait until iran seals the deal. thank you. >> i was trying to differentiate the demand of the ultimate agreement would be a very comprehensive package of transparency measures at least additional recalls. more than the countries that are members of the npt additional protocol. it would presumably settle a number of issues on the military
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dimensions. there's a lot of things the agreement would need to settle and address. there are some very urgent interim matters to attend to and one of them obviously is this accumulation of 20% enriched uranium because that allows the option of getting a nuclear weapon. now even if you handle that there are obviously other problems when iran has a large infrastructure of the nuclear centrifuges that even at low levels if you give enough accumulation of the enriched uranium and if you have the centrifuges that are more advanced in the kind they currently have you can still come up with scenarios that iran could assemble a fairly large of the fossil material for a limited number of nuclear weapons. so those are all problems that have to be addressed over the
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long term. but first things first, in order to stop this race to a red line, we need to get a grip on the most alarming thing about the status quo and i think that is what the current negotiators are looking at to find an interim measure and one in which if each side is living up to what it says it is agreed to it will build confidence and the ultimate solutions. >> if i can add to what gregg said one of the recommendations is that ultimately there has to be an agreement on just how much low-enriched uranium and it has to be reasonable and have some relation to the number. right now.
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why it needs to this low-enriched uranium ultimately. >> the plutonium is not address and what we're looking at in the 20% uranium over the long term that's a very serious concern we don't want to find ourselves in this situation with north korea we took care of the plutonium problem and left the enrichment open. we don't want to do the opposite in the case of iran. the interim continents package. >> but we say certainly nothing about 5% is necessary for iran. ..
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>> the second question, similarly, is about burr rock sigh. at the white house opposed to exclusively in the large state department brock sigh. >> i'll take that and you can add on to it. one of the key forces behind the support, frankly, was our desire
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to engage the iranian-american community, and i've spoken to many members of that community, certainly over the years, but especially in preparing this report, and the way it's easier for iran and its neighbors and for the united states and really make a difference within the lives of the people of iran will be if we relax tensions and intensify bridges, and that's one of the reasons we suggest having an intersection there. if an iranian wants to come to the united states, now they have to go to dubai or arian mania or turkey. it's expensive, com -- cumbersome, opens it up to scrutiny of security services of iran. it's not easy for them to do. if you have iranian students in
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the country, there was an example, recently, i think they were in minnesota, where 20 of them couldn't get access to bank accounts, local banks shut down the account because they saw the word "iran," and freaked out we'll get on the wrong side of the treasury department or justice department, and we want things to be easy and transparent. have an account at the federal rereceiver. how transparent can that be, linked to a particular bank in iran exclusively used for food, medicine, remittances, and they send money home or sell property and get the money back here. right now, they have to go through money changers, it's very expensive, it's not transparent, subject to abuse by unsavory actors. it's a main goal of the report, to set up a channel or two that will be transparent and will promote the kinds of things we want to promote and that will
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help iran over time. >> i have a couple points. >> please. >> going back now to the clinton administration, when i was under secretary for economic affairs and albright was the secretary, and we initiated unilaterally a set of steps, for example, to prevent ironnian pistachios from coming in. there was reprosty on the iranian side when the president talk about app exchange of civilizations, and there was the beginning of some student exchanges and culture exchanges. i think those are certainly worth it. second, president obama was criticized in 2009 for efforts to reach out to iran, i think far from criticism, the fact that it was rejected enabled the
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president to have the moral high ground to put together this quite extraordinary set of economic sanctions, so in all of the areas we're talking about here including intrasections and more exchanges and so forth, it builds on that and tests whether or not the iranian regime was willing to reciprocate in any way, and if they're not, it underscores the legit of the regime reenforcing the fact that captions -- sanctions are the only legitimate way owner the military option. they are worth trying. if they are rejected, it's on teheran. >> the exchanges is been going up again. they went down for a period after 2009, but there have been now scientific exchanges, a number of them, some in iran, some in euro, and there was 7,000 -- nearly 7,000 iranian
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students studying in the united states last year, a 345eu -- a major increase from the previous years. iranians and the iranian government have a tremendous respect for the technological prowess of the country, and there's a long tradition of iranians studying here. this is something, i think, the iranian government does not want to lose. they know it's important to their future and to the future of their people. >> i think that, in theory, that sounds, but in terms of having a diplomatic presence in teheran and increasing people-to-people exchanges, the united states can ask for it, and the iranian regime most likely will reject it with the ownous on them. we have to see that the problem is really the iranian regime that it does not want iran to travel abroad or want iranians to engauge with the outside world. it does not want iranian-americans to shape their
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home country. you know, a lot of iranian-americans are afraid to go to iran now, and it is not just because of sanctions or difficulty in traveling to the country. it's that the iranian regime doesn't want a certain set of people to reside in iran and be part of that country's future. besides, they can ideally iran and the united states will have normal relations and united states will have a diplomatic presence in iran, but i don't see it as one with the public. >> good point. jim? >> excellent report, and i congratulate the effort, and you mentioned how it would affect
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israel-u.s. relations. parts of the middle east think the u.s. and israel are blocked together point for point, and that would not necessarily be true if implemented. >> i traveled to israel several times a year, and i can't speak to the israeli leadership, jim, one of the things that was achieved by the president's visit and by the extraordinary statements by former heads of the idf and intelligence with an aligned timetable and have given breathing space for sanctions and deferred any military action, and at the same time, there are, for example, it's
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clear as was indicated and it's quite obvious from the negotiations that from the european and u.s. and p5 plus one stand point, quote-on-quote, acceptable in the interim agreement, if not permanent, would be to permit some degree of iranian enrichment unless there were very high degrees of transparency, even for that interim agreement, i think the israelis look at that in a suspect way. i think that they recognize, and, again, the very healthy internal debate, that to some extent their military options were limited, both at distance, at the assets they have compared to the united states, and that the threat of israeli military action has endeuced the
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comprehensive sanctions to some degree, and that that's an asset that's only used so many times, and so my sense is that there's more alignment between the two, but that at the end of the day, if, indeed, somehow we suffer a defeat, and we find an iran is willing to take the heat from the sanctions, willing to take the economic trama that's clearly happened over 50% of depreciation in currency, deflation over 25%, a lot of oil transactions done by barter, this is 7 # 0% of the governor revenues, export half of what they did. if they are willing over the long run to suffer that, you would see public opinion, military, and political opinion shift back to where it was. we are not there yet. that's why i feel so strongly
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about the fact that we need to really keep the sanctions up. we need to have a credible military threat because i think prospect of unilateral israeli reaction would have all sorts of conferences including israel, but if they are left with no other choice, that's something that comes back on the table, but right now, i think our policies are better alined than they have been for a very good while. >> wait for the microphone, please. say your name. >> ed, the director educational program. this is not an entirely hypothetical question, but adverse of the one just asked. that is, suppose -- and there is reason to think it's possible -- suppose israel were persuades, thinking broadly, to join the npt. would that not change the environment in the middle east,
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change the adversary relationship that you pointed out between iran and israel? >> greg, maybe you want to take that. >> that certainly is a hypothetical. [laughter] that straps me brain so much to imagine. let me offer a couple thoughts moving in that direction that i think would help, and, obviously, this is something thought about in connection with the middle east, weapons of mass direction free zone conference which was agreed to, but which had not happened yet. that, too, seems like a complete stress that would even have the israelis and iranians be ail to imagine things, but there's things like the exrenlsive nuclear test ban treaty. this should not be a deal breaker for either iran or israel in both as signals an
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interest in this solution. this are other things that even limits on certain categories of missiles that i think the two countries could agree to. i think there's steps to be taken in that direction, although i think as the israeli government says, it is going to keep various options including the nuclear forces there until it sees a different political relationship in the middle east, so i think it's not productive at this point to imagine israel as a member of the npt, but more productive to think about israel taking steps in that direction. >> two thoughts. first is if israel were to join, i don't think it has any impact on iran because iran sees its
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nuclear program as enhancing its balanced power in helping change its balance of power in the middle east, but, second, israel's not going to join the npt. it's a hypothetical, not even worth addressing, and so i think it's, you know, those are my two comments. >> gentleman right behind there. >> and certainly given the instability in the region, the growing instability of the region, israel sees its nuclear ability as ultimate card to defend itself from the extraordinary tour region. >> this is a question and you certainly emphasized the importance of sanctions, but i bring you back to a remark that is also slated in this report, and that's the notion of
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graduateed relief of sanctions in turn for verifiable curves. i would just ask you to address, momentarily, if you could, some of your thinking behind two issues. one, our political system flexible enough to differentiate and act in a timely way to give credit, and two, i think probably closely related, how would you differentiate that sanctions relief from what i suspect would be the chorus criticism which is to say we've been down the route before, the
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1994 frame work with north korea, they say they get back, we get the benefit, we get the carrot, and how would you differentiate what's called in this report from what's largely seen as the route in vis-a-vis north korea? >> very good one. there's two parts. one, in effect, is what legal flexibility would the administration have without going back to congress to get amendments which would be extremely difficult, and, i mean, there are waivers built into many of the sanctions legislation which i think gives enough elbow room, at least on an interim basis, not the core captions, -- sanctions, but at the interim so the president could do it. second, with respect to north korea, the difference would be even this 20% option, for example, of what has to be highly verifiable, the irk diaea
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needs questions answered, access to all facilities, and it's interesting that on the 20%, it's only in the last year and a half or so they have extensively gone to a 20% enrichment, and the russians, to some extent, certainly not reflected in their public attitudes or support for broader sanctions, have certainly been aggravated by the fact that they did offer to reprocess along with the french, the 20% enriched uranium to be sent back in a form that wouldn't be. there is, i think, a fairly broad international consensus on that piece, and that if that could be internationally verified with the iaea, i think the president has enough flexibility in existing law to
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make that offer, but, clearly, that's the key issue. the iranians want to know how much we're able and willing to put on the table and it has to be carefully calibrated. >> could i just add the agreed frame mark workmanned -- frame work worked reasonably well. the iranians did not build bombs in that time. they did not turn out more plutonium, and neither side kept its part of the bargain. the u.s. was supposed to build civilian nuclear reactors for north korea, and, i mean, it started, but it was a very, very slow process, it never was concluded. there were delays in the heavy fuel oil shipments for north korea, an cream that sort of worked for a time, and when george w. bush came in, refused to have powell pick up where the clinton administration left off. op going missile negotiations,
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and the whole thing unraveled discovering north korea was cheating and so on. these agreements are not meant, sometimes, to be permanent. sometimes they are meant to buy time, and the agreed frame work bought a lot of time. >> also, some of the sanctions, some of the more devastating sanctions are the european captions. for example, european boycott of iranian oil, the european, refusal to ensure tankers, those sanctions have resulted in iran's inability to export its oil, to -- that's relaxed, and that's doable, i think. once iran shows that it is willing to come out from the activity, there is a chance for sanctions to be relaxeded. i don't personally by the theory that the iranian government is afraid we can't lift captions. they know there's a path out of the current crisis.
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>> back there. >> there was an article in the arab news published, and it should be understood in the context of arab-iran rivalry concluding the summer of 2013 will be hot for oil in the region. now, we have not really discussed the arab-iran robbery. a few weeks ago, they claimed there was an iranian intelligence operation which presumably was met to prevoke a subversion, i would guess, like -- i see barbara nodding. does this suggest the saudis say two can play the game, you're minorities too, which should be an additional new dimension. >> that's app excellent point
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because the iranian nuclear issues' framed by the tensions between iran on one hand and allies and saudi arabia on the other and its allies, and, really, i think the arab spring has to come much more of a sectarian fight between shias and sunnies in the middle east. it's a fight that the united states can't always grasp or understand effectively and can want shape all waves to the best of its interests. there is definitely a rivalry between iran and saudi arabia. the saudis regularly accused iran of flying on them and vice versa, and iran accused saudi arabia of helping ethnic obsessionist and opposition groups. it's nothing new. it goes back to the 1979 revolution, the creation of the islamic republic, but what's happening right now with the syria civil war and before that,
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the strike in iraq, those heated up the rivals between iran and saudi arabia. that's shaping, to an extent, u.s. foreign policy. having said that, although the dcc countries are valued, u.s. allies, keep in mind they are the most authoritarian governments in the middle east, so when we look at the iranian nuclear threat, i think there's a series of tradeoffs. if we sanction iran, we hurt the iranian people. if we rely on the states in saudi arabia to detour and contain iran, we could hinder democracy in the region. when we talk about u.s. grand strategy, i just want to say that it's really come up -- it's it's hard to come up with a grand strategy. you know, we've criticized the united states for having tactics instead of strategy, but begin the vast amounts of interest an
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allied interest at stake, this is difficult for a grand strategy on top of the issues, the sunni-shia rivalry in the middle east is one of them. >> i mean, one of the reasons i fundamentally disagree with the argument that the consequences of a nuclear iran are overdrawn is just the point that you're making. i mean, we already have diminished influence in significant parts of the ish middle east as a result of the arab revolution. we see that, obviously, in egypt, which was our primary arab ally. if we are perceivedded as losing on the iranian nuclear issue standoff, then those allies that we do have, particularly in the gulf and saudi arabia would profoundly see the balance of power shifting against us and them, and i think the
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consequences of that would be extraordinary negative for us, a real victory for iranian influence in the region, even with the sectarian issues, and that's, again, why the nuclear issue has much broader implications on the future of the region. >> if i could just add to that, and i agree that iran developed nuclear weapons has influence, but there's a host of other factors that is shaping u.s.-arab relations. for example, there's a lot of tension between the united states and the gcc countries like saudi arabia, bahrain, and not over the iranian nuclear issue, but over the u.s. or the mubarak regime, the u.s. policy for the arab spring in general, and so my point is we shouldn't look at the nuclear isolation. there are a host of other tensions between the united
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states and arab allies that potentially supersede the nuclear issue. >> the gcc countries are scared of an iranian bomb and u.s. military action against iran. they have no solution. they know if the u.s. were to attack iran, that a lot of fallout, literal and figurative comes on them. there was a publication a few months back about the incredible am biff lance of the gcc and strength of the gcc and the united states. were iran to develop a nuclear weapon, with all doo respect, ambassador, where do the countries go? they need us more, seems to me, to extend a nuclear umbrella over them to protect them against a nuclear iran. it certainly is a blow to prestige and for better or worse, the united states is still the only important ally
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these countries have, and there's been a lot of efforts to improve their missile defenses to get them to coordinate among each other on things like missile defense with some limited success under the u.s. umbrella. in the middle there. >> i'm diane, school for conference analysis and resolution at george mason. seems like the primary emphasis is on pressure and sanctions, and that psych sanctions does not mean they are working and could have the opposite effect in one study of a hundred cases of sanctions, they failed 86 times and are often a prelude to war. you mentionedded about motivation, iran's motivation to feel they need a deterrent from us, and that actions we take for our own security makes us feel insecure and that people are more dangerous and afraid, and
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we talked about positive inducements and relationships, but i wonder about emphasizing that more and doing more tension reduction, and, also, israel's gripped by a fear that iran wants to nuke them. i think it's helpful if we could have more reassurances to israel. could you talk about recognizing our actions may be provocative and having the opposite effect, address positive extensions. >> well, the positive inducements seek to make it easier for iranians to come to the u.s. for humane tearian transactions of sorts so we're not put in the position we were in the runup to the iraq war where you remember the government, hussein, manipulated the sanctions in such a way even when he timely -- to the oil for food program, a lot was siphoned off in corruption.
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iraqis stafferred, iraqi children starved, a horrible experience. we don't want that to happen again, if possible. we want to at least make sure that the iranian government, that it's harder to blame the united states if there are consequences for the iranian people in terms of health and so on. >> and the idea of creating a fantasy mechanism so food and medicines get in as a way to prepare for a broader strategy if we get over the nuclear issue. >> sir? >> hi, i'm glen from the national academy of sciences. i'd like to react from the skepticism about exchanges and some of the recommendations in the report. having just come back from our regular meetings with iranian scientists, i'm not quite as negative as you are, al irk.
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first, with regard to the role of iranian-americans. in the field we deal in, anyway, it's not whether iranian-americans, but it's the qualifications that count. we have iranian-americans involved who were widely thought of when we went there. we had others, the nod was we got to tolerate him because he's born in iran. second, with regard to the intersection in iran, polls have been around for 15 years. >> i know. >> it's just so -- it's too much smalls of spine, frankly, and i don't think it's got a chance. now, with regard to the specific recommendations of virtual culture sections to match the virtual imbaa sigh, the state, department, i think, is a terrific idea. we're cautious about what we say on television and interview the voice of america and so forth, but if done carefully, i think
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you avoid getting iranian colleagues into trouble, and, finally, the proposal for ten on ten, ten universities to ten -- ten in iran and ten in the united states, that's doable. i just am pleased, the first discussion heard about iran in the last three years in washington that talkedded about something positive. every meeting i go to, including this one, is dominated by the bad things we're going to do to each other, but the every poll taken in iran for the last ten years has given low marks to the u.s. and everything except iran education -- except science and education. we hate you, but how can my son get a green card, you know? >> thank you so much, glen, for the remarks, and you have an excellent book cited in the report on the exchanges that have gone on, and you would be surprised.
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.. they were going to do it on their way out in the summer of 2008. bill burns was all poised and ready to ask for this and, the georgia war broke out and it was decided that it would look soft on a rogue state. so the bush administration once again put this idea
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away. i don't know frankly whether the obama administration has ever thought about it seriously but i don't, i dent see the problem in trying. i mean, yes of course, iranians would think that americans are spying but all americans that go there they think are spying any way whether they're tourists or journalists. if you had american diplomats they talk to on regular basis instead of going through the swiss or pass messages in some other convoluted way it would serve a purpose and help iranians applying for visas coming to this country. >> i dare say i would have problems with iranian intersection in the united states. >> it has been this years. >> having diplomats. >> you have an intersx in washington for all these years. >> with iranian diplomats. >> with green cardholders. >> that's what i'm talking about. there is always that concern.
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the nest of spies to use an iranian expression, but i would not give up on the idea of official government representation in country. the arguments are so persuasive in terms of getting information and in the normal course of events between, and when diplomats write cables back, talking about their conversations both with interlocutors and with non-governmental people it is extremely important and sort of shocking give the importance of iran we have such little contact between governments. so i can understand how maybe we would be pessimistic about iran excepting accepting it but seems we should be pushing very hard for that. >> i think we have pushed and iran has rejected this. if you want an american intersection in tehran you have to lobby ayatollah khomeni. good luck with him agreeing to have american intersection right smack in
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downtown tehran. >> couldn't have to be in downtown tehran. could be with the swiss in the north. >> talk about not having positive discussions about iran, there are a lot of positives about iran. it is a great country. a great culture. great people. the issue is the negativity is that regime that has a choke hold on that country and society. we can push as much as we want on having engagement with iran and an intersection. unless the iranian regime is willing to concede some serious changes that is not going to happen. in '90s with the reformists in power there was some opening but in the last 10 years since, especially since ahmadinejad came to power things have gotten much, much worse in iran. we have to recognize why that is happening. it's because the regime has been tightening its choke hold on society, out of its own fears. unless that fundamentally changes we're not going to
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witness a normal u.s.-iranian relationship. >> that a perfect ending point. we're out of time. thank you all very, very much for coming and i hope you enjoy the report. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> our live coverage continues on c-span today with society of american business editors and writers holding its spring conference. the speakers include aol ceo tim armstrong, federal reserve member janet yellen and former budget director, david stockman. it gets underway at 12:30 eastern. we're featuring booktv in prime time. we have books about women in politics. with mary robinson, everybody matters, my life-giving voice. at 9:25 we'll hear from jennifer lawless, author of, becoming a candidate, political ambition and the decision to run for office. later at 9:45. kim gaattis with hillary clinton. tonight on c-span we're going to open our phone lines and get your thoughts as we discuss health care for u.s. military veterans. we'll explore the treatments
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available, the costs involved, as well as some of the health issues affecting veterans returning from iraq and afghanistan. beginning at 8:00, former air force flight nurse linda swartz who oversees the connecticut state veterans' affairs department will discuss challenges facing veterans returning from war. here's a quick look. >> but the fear of the career, when you have the chief of the army, general odierno, getting up and saying, i had post-traumatic stress of the it's okay. if you think of post-tram tick stress as a natural reaction to an abnormal situation and, a natural reaction to an abnormal situation, va and secretary shinseki are trying to get rid of that
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>> i read that somewhere. and so, you know, writers like us, we, it is very important what they do and they really do shape the course of economies and of the world. that said, at the end of the day, they do have finite powers they can use. when you really boil it down they have a dial. and they can say we'll put more money into the economy or less. now it's a lot more
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complicated than that as you and i know. they can regulate banks. they can try to influence things in other ways but to think that everything that has gone wrong is their fault is wrong. to think that everything has gone right is, you know, alan greenspan probably got too much credit for the great moderation, for many years of strong growth we had in the 2000s. it is easy to, to blame alan greenspan and the federal reserve before the crisis for what we see now as probably overstating things as well. >> neil irwin on the creation of the world's central banks and how their managers develop global power on "after words", sunday night at 9:00 eastern part of booktv this weekend on c-span2. senior advisor to president obama, valerie jarrett, spoke about her role in the white house and limited politics. her remarks are part of the atlantic's women in washington series. this is just under an hour.
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>> thank you, elizabeth and terry, thank you very much. and all of you for being here. thank you, valerie. i will tell you about a couple things about valerie before we get started. because we want to dive in. full disclosure. valerie and i used to work together. we worked on the first obama presidential campaign and as you heard i worked in the white house. but know i get a chance to ask her all the questions i always wanted to ask. valerie is senior advisor to president obama. she oversees the white house office of public engagement, a very important office for the president and head of council on women and girls. she was a senior official in many capacities in the city of chicago and was the chief executive officer of the habitat company. she also was, is a lawyer and practiced in a couple law firms. has gone from law to private business, government, different levels and now to the very, very top position, one. very, very top positions in the white house. one of the most senior roles really ever played by any
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woman in a white house. so let's start there with that very issue which is the --. >> [inaudible]. >> why not. which is what everybody is so interested in about you and that is the, the role that you play at the white house. some describe you as the most influential person in the president's staff. i won't say you're the most influential person because he is but certainly the most influential person on the staff. you're probably going to dispute that. so i would still like to ask you, why do they describe you that way and how do you see your role? >> well, first of all, i'm delighted to be here with linda and to see all of you. looking around the room i am always thrilled to be in an audience full of women and a few brave men who i see you're out there. glad to see you twice there sitting in the front. that's really bold. [laughter] but, linda, i don't know how people and why people describe me the way i am. i think perhaps part of the
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answer is in the way you phrase the question. it is unusual to is a woman who is this senior in an administration and so you tend to get a little bit more attention when there isn't historical reference that people can really rely on but what i enjoy the fact it is really a team. you know having worked in the white house, the challenges that we have, particularly give the state of the world that the president inherited when he became president, the challenges are huge and the only way that you're going it really make the best decisions is to have a diverse group of people all thinking together and working as a time. so i don't think there is really that kind of a hierarchy. what the president does he attempts to listen to people who say something that is interesting and also to people who disagree with him. so i think in that sense we are all equal and you're just as good as the last piece of advice you gave him. >> now i have to ask this then. since he listens to people who disagree with him, are you somebody who is more willing to disagree with him
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do you think than others because you do have such a long friendship? >> i think perhaps in the beginning. as in any new situation when people have a new boss, particularly if your boss is the president of united states, leader of the free world, but as you get to know him and linda had a chance to spend a lot of quality time with him on planes started out not being like air force one. so the circumstances were quite intimate and you see very, very quickly how interested and engaging he is and he likes to be pushed. he likes people to disagree. if you're simply agreeing with him, well, what's the point? having that sounding board willing to say have you looked at it this way, looked at it this way? i probably came into a level of job with comfort and people who spend the time with him appreciate the fact he does want to be pushed. his whole goal is to make the best possible decisions he can. that comes from listening to a range of opinions which is part of my responsibility in
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the white house overseeing the offices of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs, there's a kind of outreach offices to bring perspectives to washington that are outside of washington. whether it is the governors and mayors and state ledge turs and the attorney generals, et cetera from outside, whether it's a range of interest groups that we communicate with on a regular basis and ordinary americans who have thoughts and opinions too, part of what i'm supposed to do is bring those opinions into the white house. >> let's talk a bit, we'll talk more about your relationship with the president and about the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs but let's talk about your relationship with the first lady because it's very unusual to have somebody at your level in the white house who has a relationship, personal and professional relationship with both the president and the first lady. so you gave her start professionally? >> no. i gave her start in government service. >> in government service. >> you already practicing law at a law firm when i met
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her. she figured out in two years what it took me to figure out that the practice of law in a law firm, anybody practicing law in a law firm? sorry. >> hands will go up. >> you know what? a matter of finding your own passion. what the first lady and i both realized various stages early in our career it wasn't something that we cared passionately about. so our first conversation was really about that experience at a law firm and me trying to present to her what public service would offer and why i thought she was just going to make an enormous difference. i turned out to be right about her and she had a pretty good fiance who turned out pretty good himself. >> you started as her boss? >> i did. >> now she is the first lady. talk a little bit how that relationship evolved and what is your role with her in the white house? >> well, it evolved as many friendships do. i think from the moment i met her, and i still remember our first
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interview. it was supposed to be about a 20-minute interview. an hour and a half later i offer her a job on the spot which was totally inappropriate because i should have checked with my boss. i was giving out offers. but she just struck me as being extremely wise way before her years. she was about 26 years old. she had only been out of law school for a couple of years. in the middle. interview i realized i was interviewing her. she had me with hello. she was really interviewing me. she asked me really good questions to make sure if she came in she would be able to add value and make a difference. she just didn't want to do public service because it feels good. he wanted to know if she was going into an environment where she really move the needle did. it reminds me of the process she was going through very recently talking about a second term. and her office really ran a strategic process. her requirements were, i want to make sure whatever issues i take on i can actually move the needle did and i care pass natalie
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about them. and that they will last longer than just my husband's term. and so in a sense, those are the same issues we talked about with me. now nearly 23 years ago. >> so she hasn't changed much. >> to your question in terms of my role, because tina chen, who is her chief of staff, used to be head of office of engagement. woe work very closely together. i think, maybe i'm, in the white house a really seamlessness between the west and east wing. i only know what i read from prior administration. often times the first lady had her own agenda and wasn't necessarily a part of the president's agenda. this first lady's view she wants passion and move the needle and et cetera, she also wants to be someone helpful to her husband. that is what this is all about. we spent a lot of time collaborating about that in addition to being friends. >> so, you are friend obviously which is a great benefit in terms of their trusting the advice that you
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give them being in their interests but you certainly read all the criticism that the inner circle is too small. that it doesn't change very often. that the president, you know, you heard people complain he should reach out more. that he should either bring in more outside people to work in government or that he should be socializing with congress more. you heard all that. do you try to get him to reach out more? do you think that it has been an issue? because there has been what's been described as a charm offensive underway in congress where he spending a little bit more time with them have you encouraged him to reach out a little bit more? >> first of all to set the record straight he always has reached out. he has been extremely engaging. part of the skill i thought he brought to the white house is what i observed in him when he was in the state legislature back in springfield, illinois. even as a very junior senator, he had the capacity to reach across the aisle and find that common ground. i think frankly in the first
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term, what he found was there wasn't a lot of reciprocity on the part of the republicans in congress. some republicans in congress to have that engagement. i think since the election that's changed. if you take issues such as immigration reform, we tried so mightily in the first term to get some sort of engagement, particularly since under president bush both the president and as well as i think 11 senators, republican senators, cosponsored a bill for immigration reform. when president obama came in that enthusiasm vanished. well now, since the election we've seen a lot of interest in it. so i think it's a two-way street. yes he did reach out in the beginning t was kind of clear they didn't want to engage. now there seems to be a willingness to engage. so of course, he is going to increase that outreach. he will do whatever he thinks it takes to get the job done. so i think a lot of the original critique was, unfounded. i think in terms of the white house weave had a great deal of transition. there have been a lot of new people who have come in. i think as those folks come
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in it strengthens our team. i think having new and fresh voices and perspectives is energizing to us all. i think that having den news mcdonough as chief of staff, everyone is feeling as the president began his second term at energy and enthusiasm and dennis hit the ground running and everybody is stepping up their game. i think that is natural and that is good and that is healthy and the president appreciates having that fresh perspective. >> i want to move to issues. i want to ask you one more thing about that in terms of your own role with him. you know, because you do have, because you do weigh in on so many issues you certainly read those who probably may well be envious about that access that you have say that that is primarily because you're friends. how do you react when you hear that? >> well, it is a little insulting. i think the assumption there, don't you think. thank you for nodding your head. i think, look, the president has plenty of friends. he didn't need me to come
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into his administration to be his friend. he has got great friends and i think that part of what he expects from his senior advisors is to provide him with strategic advice and so from my colleagues with whom we interact on a regular base sus i like to think that i add value. to people from the outside it is a bit of a enigma. they might think the woman is his friend. >> the woman. i heard that. >> i think what's really important though how does he feel about his team and is he getting what he needs from us. the fact he has this dynamic i think energized group of people who are encouraged to speak openly and honestly and challenge him and challenge ourselves, i think makes for a very healthy environment. and i will say i've had a lot of bosses in my life. and as you could imagine to go from being a mentor and being his spouse's boss to seeing this role reversal, i thought how is that going to
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work? i'm used to being kind the bullyer. there isn't a day that has gone by that i'm not just incredibly proud to serve both him and his administration. >> let's talk about some issues and starting with the one you are most cost closely involved with, the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and the council on women and girls. what do you see, because they aren't as well-known to the outside world as some of the other things. what do you see as the greatest accomplishments you have been able to achieve with those two decisions, those two groups? >> well the whole point as i said at the outset, linda, to encourage people who are out there where the rubber meets the road, mayors running cities, small and large, rural areas to give us their perspective. tell us how what we're doing at the federal government actually affects their lives. it is the same thing with the office of public engagement. there is such a range of constituencies out there who are deeply affected by
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decisions made in washington and our goal, the president's goal every day is to wake up and think about them. think about the american people and their plight and their challenges and the opportunities that he wants to create for them. and i think he has said that in the first couple of years he worked so hard getting policy right that we didn't have as much time available for the engagement. and bringing in the fresh ideas and getting outside of washington and traveling around the country and having that zare ren dip oust -- serendipitous encounter on a rope line where someone tells you their story how they're doing and how it is affecting their lives. that is invigorating for us all. we found our success is our best when the american people have the wind at his back. that happened obviously before the election. think of something like the payroll tax break that we were able to get through congress a little over a year ago. there was a lot of resistance until we traveled around the country and talked about it. same thing with interest rates on student loans were
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about to double. amazing how you get a lot of young people interested in that issue. i think that helped make the case to congress for why what we were proposing was so important. we look forward to doing a lot more of that in this second term. >> so as part of your outreach portfolio you have been the liaison to the business community and as we all famously know they weren't particularly complimentary of the president's first term. in fact many of them supported romney in spite of the efforts that you and others made. what happened there? >> well, you know, we get asked this question a lot. i think you have to remember what we were going through when the president took office. let's face it, the economy was in crisis. the banks were in a freefall. the stock market was in a freefall. the world economy was really teetering on the brink because of what was going on in the united states. and the president had to come in and very swiftly make some tough and often up popular decisions to
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continue bailout banks the president bush started. move forward with the helping the automobile industry. something that wasn't popular at the time. looks like a brilliant decision now but at the time it was very controversial. pushed through the recovery act to make sure we had some resources available at the federal level so we didn't continue this free fall around the country. put in place rules of the road to insure we never again were in situation where taxpayers never had to provide the kind of subsidy disthey did to the banks. all of that was contentious with the business community because they were going through their own challenges. you had a bit of a disconnect where suddenly out of nowhere the world had collapsed and some of it continued with business as usual with the bonuses, et cetera. meanwhile american people were out there losing their homes and losing their jobs. just think we lost 4 million jobs in the last six months of 2008. 750,000 jobs the first month the president took office. that was sending shockwaves around. and so, i think by nature of
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the circumstances, there was going to be some tension. there were some that were honest policy disagreements. so, for example, some in the business community wanted us to not move forward with dodd-frank. some in the business community wanted repatriation holiday to be reinstituted again. there were some basic policy disagreements. some of it was tone. but what i think has been encouraging of late -- >> what do you mean some of it was tone? >> some of it was rhetoric you were hearing on both sides. i think it was, i think times were tense. people had a lot at stake. the president was working really hard to right the ship and i think, that inevitably ruffled some feathers but four years in, i think if you look at a lot of what we did accomplish together, as well as what we're doing moving forward, our interests are a little more aligned. so for example, we worked very closely with the business community to get the free-trade agreements through. south korea, panama,
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colombia, these are really important. we're working on them now with additional free-trade agreements. we did enormous amount for travel and tourism industry to expedite through the state department visas taking far too long. we were hering complaints about people standing in line for hours or traveling for miles to get a visa to come to the united states. now we really streamlined that entire process. if you look at the very segments of the business community which is not homogenous, the president's emphasis on manufacturing and providing the kind of resources we need to train our workforce so that they're prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. that's something that we're working on very closely with the business community. and frankly at the end of last year when we were facing the fiscal cliff, the business community engaged with the administration in a way that they didn't when we were facing the crisis back in the summer of 2011 when the debt ceiling was looming and i think that was kind of a wake-up call for both of
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us. we realized we couldn't just assume congress was going to avoid for the first time ever defaulting on our full faith and credit. the business community realized they better get involved and help congress understand what was at stake. we had realignment of interests there. so i'm not to say going forward we're going to always agree but i will say despite any tensions you may have heard over, despite who anyone supported in a presidential race, the president and his administration have always had an open door. we've always been willing to engage with the business community. within the week after the election when, as you said many were not supportive the president invited in a broad cross-section of business leaders. i need your help as we face this fiscal cliff and sequester and the debt ceiling. so i think that open door, ultimately, provides us those opportunities to work together where we can. >> so another, issue area are with you know you were involved, we hear from the, from the, gay and lesbian
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community you have been an advocate on their behalf for a longer time than, and have supported the idea of same-sex marriage a longer time than the president has. can you tell us anything, understanding you're not going to want to talk too far out of school, about your conversations with him on that issue and how husband thinking evolved? because obviously he did come around to a different view than the one he held earlier. >> well, it's interesting. i mean, i have been a supporter of same-sex marriage for a long time. part of it is, i have a 27-year-old daughter and for her she can't figure out what all the fuss is about. so that conversation that i've been having with her has gone on for a lot longer than the president's conversations with his daughters. many who saw his interview with robin roberts where he talked about how he really made this evolution, had a lot to do with his daughters who were in school with children, friends of theirs whose parents were same sex parents.
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he couldn't figure out, you know, how do i say that your friends parents can't marry when other friends parents can marry? also his experience with so many people both within the administration and friends of his who have had long-lasting relationships and, and want to marry and so he had an evolution that i think was more driven by his children and the relationships that he has as opposed to anything that i would say. so i respected his evolution and you think he never questioned my position and so, -- >> that you talked about it? >> we always did. there is not much we don't talk about. you're supposed to, you talk. i think part of what i am as you go back to your earlier questions is sounding board, a safe place he has a conversation and he doesn't have to worry that i will come here and disclose all the details of this conversation. [laughter] right, linda? >> we'll keep trying though.
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>> keep trying. >> so, another issue is same story that one off then hears about you, that you long advocated the idea of, people who came to this country illegally as children, should be allowed to stay here. >> oh, yeah, the d.r.e.a.m. act kids. i have to tell you. i can tell you exactly where that came about. . . >> when i met these young people, and you hear their
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stories about growing up -- some of whom did not know they were not citizens until they tried to apply for college or for a job. you can imagine growing up loving this country, and they all had, you know, they wanted to be teachers, or they wanted to serve in the military, they love this country. and when you heard those poignant stories, you couldn't help but to fall for them. and i met with them three or four times, and over the course of those meetings, they kept saying, you know, we want the president to recognize, um, and do everything within his power. and our first choice was to get legislation passed, because that's the way that you could have a permanent path to citizenship. and there wasn't anything that he could do on the executive branch that would give them that. and we also didn't want to take the pressure off of congress from passing a comprehensive package. but when it became clear that they simply went going to do so, the president did sign that executive order. but it's a stopgap measure which
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is why we're working so hard for this permanent solution. and i think there is a chance we could actually get it. i'm feeling very optimistic about comprehensive immigration reform right now. but, yes, i was a big advocate for those dream act young people. and maybe it's just in in -- the mom in me, but i could just see my daughter. their commitment and love for our country was absolutely no greater than hers. >> did that take a lot of persuading? it doesn't sound like it necessarily did. >> well, he was always an advocate for it, we were trying to figure out the way to provide that permanency. and i see what you're kind of getting at here, linda, so let me jump ahead for you. the president and i really agree, our vision for our country, our philosophy in terms of growing our economy from the middle out as opposed to the top down, belief in equality and equal rights, those basic fundamental rights we realized we shared the first time we had dinner 23 years ago. so i think that is part of the
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bond of our friendship. so he does not need a lot of persuasion from me to care about is the same issues i care about, he already cares about those issues very deeply. and i was so delighted with his inauguration address this time, because i think it really captured as only he can, he's just this eloquent writer, really captured the essence of what he thinks our country is all about, where you are bending that arc of the moral unijers towards justice, to quote martin luther king. we're going to do everything we can on our watch. so he doesn't take a lot of convincing. he's there. >> so final issue, and then we want to talk a little bit about being a woman in a man's world, which we always enjoy at the end of our conversation here. [laughter] so, obviously, another very much front page issue is gun violence. >> yeah. >> and this is something you
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>> well, i'm not as pessimistic as your, the way you phrase that question would indicate at all. i had breakfast with the vice president this morning just to talk about what more we could do, and he's still feeling very good. the president's on his way to colorado right now to do an event to keep the passion going. last week at the white house we had a powerful, powerful meeting and session with more of the -- with many of the mothers and victims who stood behind the president. i was sitting in the audience looking at their expressions while the president was talking,
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and i will tell you this is an issue where i don't think there's a mother out there who doesn't feel for these children. i went to newtown with the president two days after the devastating tragedy there. i was if his office when -- in his office when john brennan called to tell him how many children were killed, and i sat in the car with him while he wrote his speech that he gave that night, and his staff had prepared a speech for him, and he read it in the car, and he said this doesn't capture what i want to say. he said it was a very fast hour and ten minutes as he was furiously trying to figure out what do you possibly say that in any way can console these parents. i watched him as he walked family to family, every single family that showed up that night and tried to find the words to comfort them. i went to chicago with the first lady for hi dee ya pendleton's funeral, and i know the whole extended family. and once you've seen the devastation that so many
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families have undergone, we will not be deterred because this is difficult. we always nude it was going -- it knew it was going to be hard. and i'm so confident we'll get legislation passed. the president's already taken 23 executive actions, so we're going to do everything within our power in the executive branch. you're seeing states like connecticut and colorado passing laws, so there's a lot we can do. and my view is, and i know the president's view is, if we can save one child, i don't want to go to my more funerals like hydeia's funeral. we should certainly not give up. i'm not going to give up. there isn't a day that goes by i don't think some of those families who i've met. so we're well motivated, and we're not in the least bit pessimistic. we may not get everything we set out to get immediately, but i think we will still make a lot of progress. >> but do you think that the nra turned out to be more formidable
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than you expected? >> no. look, this is an issue that people care passionately about in the country, but when you look at the polling and you see that 90% of the country's in favor of universal background checks? there is a sense that the country is in a very clear place. and i don't -- i think this is a long time the nra has had any kind of check and balance. and so i think it's healthy to the process. i think that we can fervently respect the second amendment and protect the rights of lawful gun owners, but yet who can really argue that you don't want somebody who has mental illness or a criminal background having a gun? who can really argue that you should have these magazines with infinite number of capacity to shoot bullets? and i've met, i mean, i met with young man who was in aurora who was shot several times. fortunately, he survived. he was on his way to be a fulbright scholar, and he wants
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to become an advocate to stop gun violence. you meet these amazing people, and believe me, that's what motivates us. you know what? there's still more we can do. and the final point i would make in terms of how long things take, and i don't think this is going to take nearly as long as what the example i'm going to give you, but for my last birthday, the president gave me a present, and it's two documents. one was a petition for universal suffrage signed back in 1866 and signed by susan be. anthony and -- b. anthony and all of these amazing women. and then the final resolution of congress in 1919. so over 50 years it took to get this done. and you think about the people who signed the petition who weren't necessarily there when the final resolution was signed. they had to pass that baton to the next person. so change is hard. we know that. you remember change. >> yes, i do. [laughter] >> we haven't given up hope, and
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we still know that change is hard. when it comes to issues like comprehensive immigration reform or gun control, the sands shift quickly. and i'd like to think that after the devastation that we've seen around the country in the last couple of years that that would be enough. and it certainly seems to be enough for the american people. and what we have to do is try to help congress catch up with where they are. >> on what issue do you think you've had the most influence? >> you know -- >> which one? >> i can't answer that question, i don't know. i wouldn't even begin to be able to guess. [laughter] and part of it is because and one of the things i want people to understand is the way everything's very collaborative, and so we have conversations in the white house, and it's a great team of people. and we all talk to one another. you know from the work that you did on the affordable care act, you remember those meetings -- >> oh, yes. >> -- in the roosevelt room with 20 people. could you say that one person in that room was the driving force? you might say nancy ann
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depaul, but she'd say it was a team of people. and so i take a great deal of pride in being a part of this team. and part of the reason why the team works is that you don't find people saying, well, you know, i did that because this is really all about us helping the president make the best decisions. and i think the one thing i can say uniformly about his senior staff is that, ultimately, our job is to provide him with a range of choices, give him our best thinking and then have complete confidence that he'll make the right decision. and we always, he always says, well, when are you going to bring me that easy issue? you come in here with ten things that are really hard. and we go, if it was easy, we would decide it. those are the things you never hear about, between a bad choice and a worse choice, that's where you come in. [laughter] so that's what our job is. and so it really is not an administration where you're going to find anybody who said, yes, yes, i did that.
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we're just making sure he makes the best judgment he can, and we trust his judgment. >> so in the five years that you've been there from walking in the door, you know, with every horrendous problem in the world facing you and a brand new presidency and a team that had not been in a white house before -- >> yeah. worked together, all of them, yeah. >> as some have been in the past, what do you think is the most important thing that you've learned in these five years, or maybe the thing where you just go, wow, okay, so here i learned this? and what do you think you do differently today tan you did when you first started five years ago? >> that's a very good question. well, we are in a different place now than we were five years ago. i think there isn't a day that goes by that i haven't learn bed a lesson that is very, very important. i think one of the lessons that i learned, actually, working for city government that i had to
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relearn at the federal level because this was really like drinking out of a water hose is that you really in the course of the day you have so much coming in at you. and part of my job is to bring all that in. but you also can't lose sight of the focus. and how you get things done is by continuing to just nudge along. and i think that it turned out to be harder than we had anticipated in terms of accomplishments that required congress as a partner, but, you know, you can't give up. >> what an artful way to put that. [laughter] >> you can't give up. you just have to be determined and, you know, resilient, and you have to be focused, and you have to push, you have to try a lot of different thicks, and if one thing doesn't work, then you've got to be flexible and try something else. you also have to have a certain core decency that there's some things you're not going to do in order to get what you want. and so all of that, all of those kinds of things that you learn
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from your parent, you learn in kindergarten, everything you ever need to know you learn by kindergarten, that sense of team play, i think, is really important. but the resill yen -- resilience and not sweating the small stuff, because this is a tough town. i suppose you guys know that, you work here. [laughter] but coming here from chicago i thought, you know, i grew up in chicago politics, and everybody's heard so much about chicago. let me tell you, chicago's tough next to d.c. [laughter] it really is. this place will break your heart if you let it. and you have to let a lot of things just kind of roll off. and people say things that you know aren't true, and you just can't spend your nights anguishing about that. and you have to remember why we're here. and if you get out of washington and you travel around and you meet some of these amazing people who have been touched by the good things that we have gotten done, that's, that's what consoles you for some of the tough times that you face in this town. so a tough skin is very
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important and try to keep a good heart. >> okay. so now we get to the fun part, which is being a woman in a man's world. but let's start with the white house. because certainly it has often been said that, um, it's a boys' club over there. that's been the rap on this particular white house, you know, for a while. you know, is that true, and have you done anything yourself to try to mitigate any of that or to try to change that impression or that reality? >> well, first of all, it's not true. and i was in a senior staff meeting this morning, and something told me linda might bring this subject up. so listening to the conversation and without, you know, talking out of school, the people who were contributing this morning was one of the president's deputy chiefs of staff in charge of operation, so she gave a whole presentation on the sequester and how we're managing that. and then there's always kathy rumler, the white house counsel, who we don't make a move without
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consulting with kathy. or the president recently promoted daniel gray to be cabinet secretary. and one of the goal is the is to really make sure the cabinet is seamlessly integrated just as we did with the west wing and the east wing, making sure we're integrating the cabinet. and so dan yel had a lot to say. and i could go on with the senior team that the president has surrounded himself with. and then there's the cabinet, and here you have, you know, janet napolitano, we just recently saw last week i was thrilled that the first woman now has been named to head the secret service. so if the president's prepared to put his life and the life of his family in a woman's hand, that's a pretty clear signal. not to meant kathleen sebelius. and when we talk about the president's second term, he has a very robust legislative ageneral da. but the one thing he has made very clear to us is just as important as new legislation we might pass is the successful
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implementation of the affordable care act. and so that's in the hands of kathleen sebelius. you've got the two women on the supreme court who are going to be making major decisions affecting our country for decades to come. so i believe he has always surrounded himself not just by women, but women who he has empowered if positions of influence. -- in positions of influence. so in a sense went people say it's a boys' club, it's a little insulting to the women who are playing critical roles. so you may not see them on television as much, but that doesn't mean you should underestimate the influence that they have with the preside wellr life as a woman in a man's world outside of the white house. so coming through the private sector -- >> yeah. >> coming through chicago city politics which looks like it requires big muscles to play that game, you are a woman, you're an african-american woman, and you are a single mom. >> yes. >> do you have a story that you can share with us about what you
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might have had to have just taken a deep breath and said to yourself, really? that moment that you might have experienced or at least one of those moments where you were moving up these incredibly from one powerful position to another. >> well, i will tell you the moment that changed my life, and that was having a child. and i think i was on a trajectory before where i was working at a law firm, and i was doing -- i was the first woman in my family to be a lawyer, and my parents were really proud of me. and i had this beautiful office on the 79th floor of the sears tower in chicago, and it looked down on the lake with the sailboats and everything. and when i returned from maternity leave after several months, i was sitting in my office, and i just cried because i was just miserable. i never thought that my daughter would necessarily be proud one day. and i had no passion about what i was doing, really no interest. and i'm not saying i was even the best at it x. so joining
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city government really was a change in trajectory which allowed me some flexibility, and it wasn't that my hours or were less. i actually worked far harder. but i had flexibility about when i worked. and so i made a priority of being home for my daughter before she would go to bed, and then i would work after she went to bed. and so i had that ability to kind of juggle. but i had a woman who was my mentor, and i think as madeleine albright says, there's a very special place in hell for women who don't help other women. [laughter] and -- remember that, you all. and i took that to heart when i had this mentor. and she really encouraged me in city hall to go in after about a year of working really hard and ask for a promotion. and my boss was a man, and she pushed me, and she pushed me. and i can kept thinking, young, i'm a single mom, i have a really good thing going here, i have this for example about. and she said, yeah, but you're doing the same job as somebody
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who is a ten deputy. you should have that title, that office, everything that goes with it, and you should have the salary. and as a really good mentor when she said it to me once and i didn't do it and twice i didn't do it, she was dogged. she was just like, on me. so one day i went into my boss' office x i made my case. she said tell him why. and i always thought he would just reek nice my worth -- recognize my worth, and why would i have to explain all this stuff? i got through it, and i'll never forget, he looked at me and he listened, and he said, okay. i was like, what? he said, okay, you're right. [laughter] and i said, oh, and i want that office next to yours. he said, oh, you can't have that office, it's hierarchy based on longevity. and i go, but you don't have any women in that front suite, and i think it would look better. and he said, no. and i said, well, we'll see. and literally, i just moved in. [laughter] i'm stunned now that i look back
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at it. he's still my friend. once i moved in, he couldn't say move out. [laughter] so that's one story. my second story which is really why to this day mayor daley will always have my heart and complete loyalty, and that was, again, as a single mom when i moved from the mayor's office to running the department of planning and development. early on i was in a meeting with him with susan scherr who was the first lady's chief of staff. she's, actually, the person who sent me michelle robinson's resumÉ to say she doesn't want to be if corporation council as a lawyer, maybe you should hire her in the mayor's us a. so we're sitting there, and he's a little intimidating. still even a little intimidating all these years later. but he was going on about something, and we were paying no attention. we were looking at our watches. so finally he realizes we are not listening to him, and he goes, well, would you like to explain to me what's so important that you guys are not paying any attention? and in a moment of truth i
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remember i looked at susan, and she looked at me, and i said the halloween parade starts in like 20 minutes, and it's 25 minutes away. and he said, well, then what are you doing here? and if you could have imagined the relief we felt that here he is the mayor of the city, and he's saying get in your car and go to the halloween parade. our children were in the same class, and we literally get out of the car just as they're coming out looking in the audience for their moms, and thank goodness we were there. and i tell that story because we were talking before we came out, linda and i, about can you have it all and the whole controversy that's going around now with sheryl sandberg's book, and my view is you can have it all, but you can't necessarily have it all at the same time. and you also have to workplaces that respect your whole life. and so many people go to work, and they pretend that they're somebody they aren't, because they think that's what it takes to get ahead. you're not going to be happy and
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fulfilled in life. and so i say pick your institutions well, pick your bosses well, and be really honest with yourself about what you need. and i know if i had a 5-year-old, i could not work in the white house. finish when my daughter was 5, i needed to know i could be home and tuck her in bed because that's just what i needed as a mom. and that's what i thought she needed. everybody's children are not the same, all moms are not the same, but you do have to listen to yourself and trust your gut. and you also have to realize there are going to be trade-offs. okay, you may not be able to work in the west wing when you're 30, but when you're 56 and your children are grown and you're not married, it's a great place to work. [laughter] >> hang on. >> no personal life whatsoever. [laughter] it is delightful. [laughter] so, but be honest with yourself. and i think in my life i have been very fortunate to work in institutions that supported my
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life choices and allowed me to have a whole life. and that's really important to me. >> well, that is a great way to close. i'm going to slip one very quick question in concern. >> all right. >> and then i'm going to open up for questions. you were certainly instrumental in helping to elect the first african-american president. hillary clinton was just on stage last night. >> yeah, she was great. >> how important is it for you to see the first woman president in your lifetime? >> well, i sure would like to see it in my lifetime, and i say that as much more my daughter and my grandchildren, because i think we should constantly be trying to make opportunities available that have not within historically -- been historically available. you talked about me and my position in the white house. i would hope that in the next white house there would be several valerie jarretts and that that would always continue to grow -- >> advising hillary clinton? >> advising her? oh, well, whomever else. but i think what's so interesting about the question
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is, my goodness, it's the beginning of 2013! [laughter] why are we talking about the next president now? can't we give this president just a little more time to be president before -- >> oh, i know. >> i know it's washington, it's like the day after the election you on to the -- you're on to the next racement. [laughter] so let's give everybody a chance to just like, you know, figure out what they want to do. but i think the idea of breaking these glass ceilings and making sure or -- the president has often said if we had more women in congress, perhaps we would have an easier time. women, i think, are really good in elected office. and it's regrettable that more women don't go into both elected office as well as pursue careers in government. it's not for the faint of heart, but i do believe if we can get a critical maas in the elected body, then good things are ahead for us. >> okay. well, that was great. and thank you so much for that. >> my pleasure. [applause] >> and now if anybody has any questions, we have somebody with a microphone over here.
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so just raise your hand and just identify yourself. okay, first question comes from a man. [laughter] >> is there a mic? >> [inaudible] >> hi, i'm steve, i work here in the city and study ir as well. thanks a lot, linda. i've told you before, you're awesome. a lot of us, ms. jarrett, have basketball on the mind. so as a man with very intimate ties to georgetown university, i wish your school a lot of luck against syracuse. and if the president wants to go better than 2 for 22 from the three-point, i offer my services for the rest of his term. >> thanks a lot for bringing that up. >> you're a business leader and a pretty strong model for women and girls. could you comment a little bit or give your views on the, um, the flap over what happened to avery richards who's a programmer if california, she attended a conference out there and some fellas sitting behind her made some pretty vulgar
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remarks. they were fired afterward, you may know the story. >> >> i actually don't know the story. please go on. >> they were fired afterwards, and as a consequence, she got a lot of threats. men behaving badly in the workplace. >> that's a big topic just generally, let alone in the workplace. [laughter] >> that's one question. >> got an hour? >> well, not really. >> just kidding. >> when i was a kid, i devoured a book by the great evan thomas, the wise men, six friends and the world they made. what would be the female analog to them today, in your opinion? >> you ask very complicated questions. [laughter] let me try and answer the first one, because i see you're going to keep going. we want to have of multiple questions. so let me just say in terms of behavior not just in the workplace, but just generally, i think we all have an obligation to set high standards for what's appropriate conduct. and i think probably everyone in here has had a man or even a woman say something inappropriate to you in the
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workplace that was compromising, and many of us just shrug it off because that's part of -- particularly those of us who are older, you were used to it. it's really not okay, and it's a slippery slope. and i think that sometimes it's hard. and i remember being young and working and practicing and having clients say things that were inappropriate. and part of what we try to do back then that i discourage anyone from doing now ask that you want to be -- is that you want to be kind of with the team. so you don't want to look like that woman who can't take a joke. and i think it's perfectly okay to say, you know what? that's just not acceptable. and we should really be standing up for ourselves and each other. and if you see somebody who's getting spoken to in an inappropriate way who doesn't have the courage to help themselves, do it for them. self-correct. and you don't have to do it in a way that's going to be demeaning or whatever, but you can be really pirm and really clear and encourage our daughters to do
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that. our daughters don't need as push help. linda and i have daughters about the same age. they're pretty good at fending for themselves, and i think the standards of what's acceptable have improved, and i think that's a good thing for the next generation. but you've got to be vigilant. and i, having spent a lot of time wearing my hat as chair of the white house council on girls, i spent a lot of times with victims of domestic violence, with victims of human trafficking, and you would think in our country that it wouldn't be the way it is. but the fact that one of the most unreported crimes is sexual assault by a partner. and so thankfully, we were able to pass the reauthorization of the violence against women act. but when -- and right after -- you can clap, it's okay. a good thing. [applause] the week after it passed i went, kathleen biden is on the board of an organization that provides free legal services to victims of violence and helps with
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everything from getting protection orders to divorce to child custody, etc. and there are 800 lawyers in d.c. who volunteer to do this. and it's just an amazing project. and it really brought home how important these laws really are. but they're only going to be as good as the reporting mechanisms and their support system that women have. and if you think of, you know, one in three women sometime in their life is a victim, that's a lot of you in this room. so this isn't somebody else's problem, this is our problem. >> okay. so another question? jill? >> hi. >> hi, jill. >> jill lawrence from national journal. you said that one of the priorities of the second term is going to be implementing the affordable care act. so my questions are, there's been a lot of -- or there's been some articles recently about businesses having problems, you know, businesses that are small and would grow but are waiting to see what happens or may not decide to grow if it seems